Friday, February 15, 2013

Crucial Leadership Lessons from Coach Stephen Keshi

I watched with keenness as the Super Eagles of Nigeria won the much coveted AFCON cup and how they were treated to a worthy glorious return. As I mused on these happenings, I could not help but marvel at the excellent personality and leadership effused by Coach Stephen Keshi.

I was able to identify three high level virtues that have helped the coach lift the team, the nation of Nigeria and himself to our present exalted football position and I’ll discuss them below:

Personal Resolve and belief:  Life is like driving where the only person you can control is you. Stephen Keshi controlled himself to retain his personal resolve to win and his belief that the team could do it. If he had done away with this belief, we would not have witnessed Nigeria lifting the cup. We did not win as a result of luck, we won because Nigeria had lifted the cup in Stephen Keshi’s mind before the start of the tournament.

This resolve must have helped him to remain steadfast despite our disappointing start and lack of support from where he would have most expected it. Without a doubt, the team was an obvious hopeless one but they shot past all limitations because the coach must have predefined them to be winners.

For me, this reiterates the fact that what you have formed on your inside, what you strongly believe in can take you far beyond your present outlook.

Patience: Throughout the tournament, Coach Stephen Keshi did not give gossip papers or the grapevine the relish of any outburst or outrage. He patiently waited for the result he believed in and never gave up. I’m sure he did not overwhelm himself with the big picture. He knew his resolve, held on to it but dealt with reality one barrier after the other, one match after the other.

Silence: I will refer to the words of the acclaimed wisest man that lived on earth, King Solomon. He said, “When a fool keeps quiet, he is considered wise.” This is the simple lesson Osaze should have suffered himself to heed.

It is the wisest and smartest people that master the art of silence. In today’s world of instant twitter and Facebook updates, we would think this ancient piece of wisdom had gone mundane but thank God for Coach Stephen keshi who has defied this assumption. He lived away from twitter and Facebook and even when he must have been most pressed to yield to these overtures, he forsook temporary relief and faced his challenge headlong.

He kept quiet when the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) chided him and even threatened to sack him. He kept quiet still when the same NFF shook with fear and reportedly purchased return tickets for the team.

In summation, I will refer again to the words of King Solomon, “A man who conquers his spirit is stronger than the man who conquers a city”. Coach Stephen Keshi is super strong, he has evidently conquered his spirit and he also before our very eyes conquered cities!

Friday, February 08, 2013

Roadmap to Stable Electricity in Nigeria

Our side of the estate had been without electricity for three days and being a responsible citizen, I drove down to the government-owned power company, PHCN to report the situation. Before I continue, I think I should use this opportunity to state that we do enjoy excellent PHCN-customer relations in Gwarinpa, Abuja compared to what obtains in Lagos. I have never had to bribe, coax or induce any PHCN officer since I moved to the area. I remember the first time I went to make a complaint, I simply had to join a line and when it got to my turn, I told the woman at the table that we had been without electricity for 24 hours. Surprisingly, she didn’t insult me in return; she didn’t even have that horrible contour some old female civil servants display on their faces when they are not in the mood to work. She referred me to their engineer who took down the complaint and the situation was properly resolved before midnight.

Back in Lagos, we had to come up with all kinds of tricks to get PHCN, then NEPA to do their job or prevent them from doing what they know to do best - cutting the line from the pole. We sometimes feed them or call our younger cousins to entertain them with dance and my brother should have won the AMAA (African Oscars) for his perfect act of dressing like a ‘big’ man and stomping into their office shouting, where is your oga?

Now back to the story at the beginning of this post. After stating we had been without electricity for three days, I was directed to a Senior Engineer’s office in the back building. When I got into his office, I relayed my complaint again. On hearing what I had to say, he threw his head back, scratched his hair and picked up his phone. He instructed the person on the other end to switch the connection plug from another area to ours (this is my layman’s watered down interpretation of the engineering terms he used).

I was shocked to note that incidents of power cuts were just the handiwork of a man that switched off the supply and it was clear that in between their game of switching on and off, they had forgotten to restore supply to our area.

As I left PHCN’s office that day, I could not stop pondering on the existing arrangement of electricity distribution. So, a man sitting by the switches determines in his mind that Lekki should have electricity, then, he switches Lekki on. Again, he decides Ajegunle should not have electricity, so he switches it off. It’s just a foolish, silly game that has no place in the 21st century. What assumptions, preconditions and considerations do they use to determine which area should have or be without electricity.

I will like to use this medium to recommend that PHCN be mandated to develop a distribution model and make it public. The model should show allocation of power supply to all areas across the country in percentages. This will allow automatic determination of the specific amount due to each area in cases of increase or decrease in power generation. Information on the basis for allocation should also be provided e.g Value X is allocated to Aso Rock because it is the seat of Presidency.

From this model, a timetable can be generated to show the numbers of hours of electricity each area should expect per day and through an interactive platform on PHCN’s website, people can choose the time when they want to enjoy the supply e.g. an area allocated 4hours of power supply per day can decide on 2p.m to 6p.m. The timetable should be displayed on PHCN’s website and any alteration to it should be announced.

I will be glad if you can add your contribution to this proposed recommendation and who knows we might come up with so good a document that we can submit to the Presidency, Ministry of Power and/or PHCN.

Let’s do it! The New Nigeria we seek is within our reach!